Costly solidarity part 2

June 22, 2017

Palestinian Christians call World Council of Churches
 and the ecumenical movement to ‘costly solidarity’
in this seemingly ‘impossible moment”
Our Call

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“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

 
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Justice), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”. (Matthew 5:10-11)

 
As we stand in front of this “impossible moment”, it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call and adopt the following:

 

Kairos

 
1. That you call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and in agreement of what a person like Desmond Tutu said and as the UN ESCWA report said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”. We are disturbed by the fact that States and churches are dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination and daily death in the land. Just as churches united to end apartheid in South Africa and whereby the WCC played a courageous and pivotal prophetic and leadership role, we expect you to do the same!

 

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2. That you unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses. We ask that churches and Christians to support the Palestinians in their request for justice. It was his infamous declaration, after all that laid the ground for the concept of an ethno-religious state – the very same thing our region is suffering today.

 

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3. That you take a clear and the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant. We ask that you adopt and live the theology suggested by Kairos Palestine and that you organize conferences to bring awareness towards this end.

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4. That you take a stand against religious extremism and against any attempt to create a religious state in our land or region. We ask that you support us in combating the foundations of extremism and that you seek our council when acting against religious extremism so that you do not jeopardize and harm our standing here.

 
5. That you revisit and challenge your religious dialogue partners, and that you are willing to even withdraw from the partnership if needed – if the occupation and injustices in Palestine and Israel are not challenged.

 
6. That you lead campaigns for church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities on this side of the wall in cooperation with Palestinian tourist and pilgrimage agencies, in response to recent attempts by Israel. We ask that you publicly challenge any attempt by Israel or other Christians that discourage pilgrims from visiting Palestinian places.

 

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7. That you defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently. We ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and go further to support sport, cultural and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions urging the ending of its occupation, Apartheid and discriminations, and accepts refugees to return to their home land and properties. This is our last peaceful resort. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measures.

 

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8. That you create lobby groups in defense of Palestinian Christians. We ask that you publicly and legally challenge Christian organizations that discredit our work and legitimacy.

 
9. We therefore propose as a matter of the greatest urgency that you create a strategic program within WCC similar to the Program “To Combat Racism” to lead efforts to lobby, advocate and develop active programs towards justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and work on maintaining the presence of the Palestinian Christians through supporting their organizations, church work and peaceful efforts.

 
As faithful witnesses, we acknowledge, affirm and continue the long standing prophetic tradition, especially the one started by the Amman Call and articulated in the Kairos Palestine document. We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call.

 
Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land. Our only hope as Christians comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus Christ who triumphed over death and sin, brought to us and to all humanity, new life.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
12 June 2017

Costly solidarity in Palestine Pt.1

June 19, 2017

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Palestinian Christians call World Council of Churches

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and the ecumenical movement to ‘costly solidarity’
in this seemingly ‘impossible moment”

 

This will be part one of an evangelical wake up call to slumbering Christians in Canada, the USA and Europe.

 

Our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land have been waiting far too long for some tangible expression of solidarity.
The Canadian bishops have twiddled their thumbs as Palestine burns.Their limp abstractions about peace in Israel/Palestine is never followed up by any serious discipleship.

Like so many Catholic institutions and indeed other major Christian bodies seem immobilized by the predictable blowback of tribalists in the Jewish community and the biblical illiterates who espouse Christian Zionism.
When we discuss the Middle East we are neither pro-israel or pro-Palestine. We are simply pro-justiceJustice is a central concern of Jesus’ call of the reign of God. we need not be overly concerned about some negative criticism. The cross can never be denied.
2000 years ago Jesus warned us:

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“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. Matt.23: 23, 24
Open letter from The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement

 

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)”
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)

 
Background

 
As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation of land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

 

 

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We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western Empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and few Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored – even dehumanized – the nation, our people that had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

 
Hundred years later with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth – though not our memory –, millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba goes on.

 
Hundred years later and there is still no justice in our land!

 

Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock.

 
Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking – we have reached the “moment of impossible”, as Emeritus Latin Patriarch Sabbah said recently:

 
Could it be that we have reached this “impossible moment” because things were built from the very beginning – a hundred years ago – on an unjust premise? Should we expect that such an unjust declaration will create anything but strife and destruction?
Today is also an opportunity to remember the Amman Call which was proclaimed ten years ago. We are thankful to those who stood with us back then in costly solidarity; those who stood for truth and justice. We are also concerned that ten years later the situation has been worsening on on the ground and still deteriorating. Like other initiatives advocating end of occupation, the Amman Call did not achieve its goals in building and achieving just peace and we must ask ourselves today – why?

 
We are also concerned by Israel’s systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance, and on our partners worldwide who use this method to pressure Israel to end the occupation. Many new laws were issued in Israel and around the world to oppose this creative non-violent resistance unlawfully, and to stop all effort towards peace. Not only is this an attack on the freedom of conscience and speech but it is also an assault on our right and duty to resist evil with good. Israel is even now trying to prevent pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem – the city of Emmanuel!

 
While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last ten years as a result of this manipulating pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their religious dialogue partners.

 
Finally, we meet in an environment of religious wars and persecution in our region. Religious extremism is on the rise, and religious minorities have paid a heavy and painful price. We thank you for your efforts towards the refugees and towards ending the conflicts in our region. We also thank you for your support of persecuted Christians in places like Iraq and Syria.

 
As we stand in front of this “impossible moment”, it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call.

Shonda is back!

June 16, 2017

Here we are now 50 years after the beginning of occupation  on June 5, 2017 protesting in front of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) where well-heeled Jewish Torontonians paid from $1000 to $5,000 to The Jerusalem Foundation of Canada to join the Mayor of Jerusalem to celebrate 50 years of military occupation of the Palestinian Territory of East Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

OCCUPATION 50

The evening is not without humour. The attendees are bummed out as they have to walk the fenced-off gauntlet of those vigilling. You can almost see smoke singing the kippahs of  many as they glare at the assemblage raining on their parade.

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Then one of the longtime “Jews of Conscience” yells out the ultimate Yiddish put down: Shonda! I chuckle and try to explain it to a few people. The best I can come up with is this figurative translation: Shame on you, foolish ones, ermbarrassing Jewry in front of the goyim (Non-Jews).This is a scandal. Yiddish, music to my ears!

Then that Sunday  pick up the NY Times Magazine and there’s this article on Jared Kusgner Trump’s son–m-law as a slum lamdlord. The article  sent one jewish woman into orbit

Shoda is back!

How can Jared Kushner live with himself? As an observant Jew, he should be practicing tikkun olam, acts of kindness to perfect and repair the world. But he (through his legal and management agents) fails to repair his low-income rental properties, forcing his tenants to live with mold, leaks and vermin. When they move out, he hounds them for purported back payments. It’s a shonda, a shame, on Kushner for inflicting so much tsoris on people struggling to get by. I urge him to live up to the ideals of our faith.

Ellen Sweet, New York

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Israel in deep denial

June 15, 2017

Denial is not a river in Egypt. It does describe modern day Israel.

Phil Weiss who began the indispensable blog Mondoweiss usually goes to Palestine rather than Israel to check things out and report on them. A rabbi I know calls Mondoweiss “hateful” as it is decidedly non-Zionist. This time Weiss stayed totally in Israel where 20% of the citizens are Palestinian—excuse me “Arabs”–in Israel Palestinians do not exist.

His report is instructive.
This political culture can be frightening. On Jerusalem Day I was in the crowd of Jews entering the Damascus Gate into the Old City and though I saw religious joy, I also saw intolerance and ethnocentrism at every hand. A group of religious men chanted in defiance of the Palestinians surrounding them, “The people of eternity are not afraid of a long path.” An Australian man swigging tequila told me, “Jerusalem is the soul of the Jewish people and it is our capital forever.”

Really, what does Jerusalem have to do with his life down under? Put another way, what kind of lout would brandish a liquor bottle in a militarily occupied Muslim Quarter of a country not his own? And look at the illegal Jewish settlers there. They’ve made a home in the Muslim quarter, and are passing out water.

LOUT

The Aussie lout

A telling comment here:
Aside from the boorish Aussie lout,Weiss met Itmar who assured him,”There is no occupation,“Because god gave you the land?”
Then there was Yossi Gurvitz:

 
“All these people are living in denial, This is apartheid. David Ben Gurion warned about apartheid 50 years ago and it has come to pass.I tell anyone under 25 who is here: Flee.”  

 
A professional army, highly disciplined? Robots.

 
An Israeli woman police officer lost control with Palestinian women. Evidently this officer was tasked to handle Palestinian women. One woman she slapped when she did not immediately obey an order, two others she also abused. If there was anything like a professional occupying army her commanding officer would have told her to take a break and get out of there, But no; that behavior is condoned. All Israel supports it, more or less consciously. And of course, there is a legal double standard: the cops do nothing to stop the Jewish settlers saying Death to Arabs.

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Of course there is always a price to be paid if you are a Jew of Conscience. Weiss:

None of my hosts even acknowledged a heroic action of Palestinian resistance during my visit, the prisoners’ hunger strike for better conditions. There is a complete blocking out of the real conditions of countless subjects of their government.

Phil Weiss like all dissidents has paid a price for his independent thinking, for his ongoing exposure in Israel/Palestine of the horrendous and too long suffering of Palestinians. He wrote that he had lost jobs for his opinions and even his own mother called him vile. This is very tough to take for anybody. How would a Toronto Jew exist as a Phil Weiss? Most, and I could name many high profile members of the community who know what’s going on, but totally evade the obvious. One needs to be absolutely  grounded to take such a prophetic position. Most simply cannot do it. Such a commitment demands major sacrifices in ones life.

 

I AM

Weiss’s conclusion is,” American Jews are all that can save Israel from the ideology that envelops it. That change won’t come from Israelis. I used pseudonyms for my four hosts, Anat, Allon, David, and Itamar, so as to protect their privacy.

Much gratitude to Mondoweiss  http://mondoweiss.net

The messianic vision

June 13, 2017

Weiss

Daniella Weiss, the voice of the the extreme most religious zealots settlers appeared on Israeli radio when Trump descended on Israel.

 

Evidently the Hebrew Scriptures are apparently a real estate deal.

She began by saying that Trump will bring no change because even Trump the great deal maker cannot undo what was agreed upon between God and the Jewish people when He promised “us” the Land of Israel. Then she stated that now there are 750,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria, and not one of them can or will ever be removed.

 

Such was the justification of the atheist Ben-Gurion in 1937 when asked by Sir Robert Peel what gave  Jews the right to all of Palestine Palestine, given that the Palestinians he interviewed all had land deeds from the Ottoman Empire. He then asked  the Jewish leader where he was from. Russia. Then the atheist leader simply held up up the Bible.Case closed.

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“What about three million Palestinians?” Weiss  was asked and she made it clear that they are not part of the messianic vision that she holds.

 

The indispensable Heaps

June 11, 2017

A beautiful sunny day in midtown Toronto,right off the Kensington market and here we were happily celebrating the extraordinary Christian lives of Dan and Alice Heap.

Kudos to Heritage Toronto to have the brains and talent to marshall this one through.

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The Heap home at 29 Wales was indeed a boiler room for progressive causes of all kinds. And make no mistake about it. You could not talk about the Heaps without acknowledging their formidable partnership.The plaque unveiled was a helluva précis on the couples’ life.it touched all the basesHousing, Co-ops, Social Justice activity of all kinds.Heritage Toronto as a secular institution focussed on their trade union advocacy,community organizing, socialism ant anti-war activity.

 

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For those of us who knew them, they were fired by the gospel of liberative social justice. Both were grads of the Student Christian Movement then an almost totally Protestant organization one which produced so many great Canadian Christian activists, largely United Church and Anglican.Two of the more notable ones, though there were dozens i could name, were Anglican primate Ted Scott and United Church Moderator Lois Wilson. Both Alice and Dan were longtime parishioners at Holy Trinity the dynamic Anglican parish nestled next to the belly of the beast, that shrine to consumerism, Eaton Centre.I was privileged  to be present there at Dan’s final eucharist just before his mind would be enveloped by darkness.
Dan was elected three times in the 80s as the NDP member from Spadina. Once I called him late at night in Ottawa  when that apostle for peace Phil Berrigan was held in the West Detention Centre barred from entering Canada. One call to Dan and the nervous feds let him in. What a strange country this is sometimes —no problem welcoming war criminals like Henry Kissinger in but keeping out for gospel proponents of peace.
One could not think while listening to son David Heap’s welcoming remarks about the latest government misstep giving $60 billion to Defense as social housing goes begging.
The following story from the Toronto Star (October 19, 2011) tells of my own initial meeting with this extraordinary Christian in the mid 70’s.

 

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Ted Schmidt with some of his students at Neil McNeil Catholic High School, circa 1981.

Heap’s legacy: Life lessons off the basketball court
By LAURIE MONSEBRAATEN Social Justice Reporter

Former alderman Dan Heap inspired a coach to cancel practice and take the team to a rally for exploited grape workers.

 

Ted Schmidt with some of his students at Neil McNeil Catholic High School, circa 1981. Schmidt’s understanding of Christian social justice, which he tried to transmit to students, was inspired and shaped by Dan Heap’s example.

 

On Saturday, the Star published a story about former MP Dan Heap and the obstacles his family faced trying to get him suitable care. Since it appeared, we have been overwhelmed with anecdotes about how Heap touched readers’ lives. Each day this week, we’re featuring one of them. Today, former Toronto high school teacher Ted Schmidt.

Dan Heap brought his passion for social justice to Toronto city hall as an alderman from 1972 to 1981, where he connected local residents to global issues such as the plight of Mexican grape workers in California.

Ted Schmidt, a former religion teacher and basketball coach at Neil McNeil Catholic High School, was one of many who heard Heap’s call to action one day in 1974.

Cesar Chavez spoke for the exploited workers in California and Heap, who was holding a rally for the cause in Nathan Phillips Square, was their voice in Toronto, Schmidt recalls.

“I called off practice that day. . . I told my players that we had bigger fish to fry. People were in trouble and needed our help,” he says.

Schmidt, who grew up in Spadina, the riding Heap later represented in Parliament from 1981 to 1993, had never met Heap, an Anglican priest and former factory worker. But he was impressed by Heap’s “brave public witness.”

“I well remembered the then clean-shaven Heap picketing his own Anglican Church House at the height of the Vietnam War in 1966,” Schmidt says. “He was demanding that the church who spoke in the name of Jesus speak louder on behalf of the pulverized civilians of Vietnam.”

When Schmidt brought his basketball team to the rally, he introduced himself to Heap and told him how much he admired his defence of the voiceless.

Here was a city councillor who was the incarnation of all the values we teach as a Catholic high school. It was important for my students to see that,” says Schmidt, 72, and now editor of the New Catholic Times, a bi-weekly online newsletter for social justice.
Over the years, Schmidt became friends with Heap and his wife, Alice. Later, when Schmidt was teaching courses to Catholic teachers, he invited Heap to speak to them about the role of the Christian in society.

“I had no real mentors in the 1960s in the public sphere,” he says. “Dan was the first.”
Watching this lovely event evolve and scanning the crowd I could not help but think how almost irrelevant the local Catholic church has become in the social sphere. As the glow of the great Council fades, we will find so few prelates engaged in the struggle for a more just world. There will be Christmas baskets and parish centred picnics but from the top down there will be little deep civic engagement and virtually little ecclesial leadership in the great social causes of our world.

 
In time the church will grow smaller and probably lay led. Inevitably there will be great people like Dan and Alice rise up. There will always be gospel dreamers singing, as we did on Saturday, that great 60s anthem:

 

Last night I had the strangest dream i ever had before
I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war

Bertolt Brecht could easily been thinking of Dan and Alice when he penned these lines in The Mother(1930)

There are those who struggle for a day and they are good.
There are those who struggle for a year and they are better.
There are those who struggle many years, and they are better still.
But there are those who struggle all their lives: these are the indispensable ones.
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50 years later

June 9, 2017

Amazing what you can learn in 50 years.

 
The past week is the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War when Israel wiped out the Egyptian air force and began its disastrous occupation of Palestinian land.

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At that time I lived within the emotional cocoon of the Jewish neighbourhood and in my journal i cheered on the destruction of the Egyptian air force and was happy that “that bastard Nasser got his.”

 
Wow what learning in the next 50 years transpired.

 
That war was over so fast that my many Jewish friends never got the opportunity to go and fight. They were ready as the existential fear, always promoted by the Zionists was was promoted. another holocaust is about to take place.

 
Much like the vaunted War Of Independence Israel was never in trouble but it always played the hand of the poor underdog, the perennial victim, in this case of Arab hatred
Guy Laron senior lecturer of International Relations at Hebrew U in Jerusalem recently laid out the well known truth of June 1967:

 
The “bogus” storyline has been challenged by none other than Yitzchak Rabin. In 1968, Rabin, the Chief of Staff during the June 1967 War, told a French journalist that: “The two divisions that [Gamal Abd al-]Nasser [the Egyptian President]  sent to Sinai on May 14 [1967], would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”
Ezer Weitzman, who served as Rabin’s deputy in 1967, told a newspaper that “there was never a danger of extermination.”

 
Likewise, Mati Peled, the head of logistics at the time of the war, penned an article in 1972 in which he maintained that the claim that Israel was under existential threat in 1967 was “a bluff born and developed only after the war.” Years later, a member of the 1967 cabinet, Menachem Begin argued that “the Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

 
50 years later the world is tired of Israel flaunting UN resolutions, ignoring international law and illegally occupying another people.

 
Our great prophet Martin Luther King Jr. consistently quoted Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle’s insistence that “No lie can live forever.”

 

 

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The fundamental lie of Zionism’s ultimate goal that it wanted the whole of Palestine has been laid bare. Chaim Weizmann always insisted that the “Commonwealth” promised by the 1917 Balfour statement never meant a state was laughable even then, “patently disingenuous” as California congressman Julius Kahn wrote to President Wilson on March 4,1919
And so it has gone, lie after lie.

GURi
David Ben-Gurion a week after the 67 war got it right:
Better get rid of the territories and their Arab population as soon as possible. If not Israel would soon become an Apartheid State…

 

 

 

50 years, far too long

June 4, 2017

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First, it was  the Toronto Symphony Orchestra proving how deaf some in the arts can be. They went to israel and ignored the cultural boycott. They not only do not have the words but they do not have the right music. They went and played for apartheid.

Join us in front of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) (corner of Bloor & Queens Park, 100 Queens Park)

Monday, June 5, 2017
at 5:30 PM (until approximately 7 PM)

The Jerusalem Foundation of Canada is holding a gala at the ROM with the Mayor of Jerusalem to celebrate 50 years of military occupation of the Palestinian Territory of East Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

 
As we remember June 5, 1967 and the beginning of the Six Day War Join us & let Toronto know our message is

“Don’t celebrate occupation, Jerusalem is a City for All” Invite israel to stop being a pariah nation. It could be such a great country, a true democracy where each person gets the vote.

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50 years of military occupation in the Palestinian territory.

Help bring israel to its senses…and wake the Royal Ontario Museum up from its ethical slumber.

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50 Acts of Resistance for 50 Years of the Occupation

June 2, 2017

Suds

Studs Terkel’s last book (2003) Hope Dies Last begins with a quote from a retired farm worker Jessie de la Criuz, just one of the largely anonymous people whose inner spirit never quits.

I feel there’s gonna be a change, but we’re the ones gonna do it, not the government. With us there’s a saying, “La esperenza muera ultima. Hope dies last.” You can’t lose hope. If you lose hope, you lose everything.”

Now hope is a theological virtue; it is a deep belief that the universe moves toward justice, that God is operative quietly, gently urging us on when things look dark, when on the surface there is little cause for optimism.

The Christian text which inspires, written by Paul or a cohort, is this one

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

The cynical and arrogant Israeli leaders, all pragmatic atheists actually believed that Palestinians would give up and forget their expulsion from their homes and lands they had lovingly tended. Who ever gets used to radical injustice? Hope never died.Sumud the persisitent belief in their cause stayed firm, and the world finally caught up with Zionist injustice, “the criminal project” as Tel Aviv writer Gideon Levy wrote,”just half an hour away from Israeli homes.”

What Israel never banked on were the “Jewish Jews” those who had internalized Deuteronomy’s cry: tzedek, tzedek, tirdof…justice, justice you shall pursue…so that you may live. Deut.16:20

Many brave Jews, 50 years after Occupation 67 years after ethnic cleansing speak up…Gideon Levy wrote this, again in Haaretz a column which will never be distributed in Canadian synagogues.

Since Golda Meir’s “we’ll never forgive the Arabs for forcing our children to kill them” to “a nation cannot be an occupier on its own land”, lies keep following lies. It hasn’t stopped to this day. Fifty years of occupation, fifty shades of mendacity. And now? Another fifty years? Talia Krevsky and Dana Mandler two Jerusalem-based “Jewish Jews” catlaogued 50 acts of resistance which most paople are not aware of.This was published on May 20 again in Haaretz

Thought the battle over 1967 was lost? And for Israel’s democratic character? Wrong.

Here are are a sample of the protests, court cases and acts of nonviolent defiance since the start of this anniversary year. Half a century since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank began, the struggle to resuscitate Israel’s democratic character, and for a just and sustainable future for Israelis and Palestinians, goes on.

Here are 50 acts of resistance from the five months of this year alone.

1. January 11: The ongoing legal battle for a petition against the forced eviction of Palestinians living in Firing Zone 918, led by by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), rages on for its seventeenth year.

2. January 18: Solidarity activists, public figures, and members of Knesset (MKs), demonstrate against housing demolitions in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran.

33353998133. January 21: Hundreds partake in a sister demonstration in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, across from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv against bigotry and tagainst equating support for Trump with support for Israel.

4. January 25: Thousands of Jews and Muslims protest threats of Druze and Arab home demolitions in the northern village of Maghar.

5. January 26: Approximately 300 African asylum seekers and refugees  protested in front of the Supreme Court, calling for an end to expulsion and internment at the Holot detention facility in the Negev.  Protesters at the Flag March on Jerusalem Day, May 24, 2017. Olivier Fitoussi

6. February 5: Thousands of Jews and Arabs march together against home demolitions and racism in a protest organized by Standing Together in Tel Aviv.

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7. February 8: Despite attempts by Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, to prevent a Breaking the Silence lecture from taking place at Barbur Gallery in Jerusalem, the event went forward as planned with hundreds of demonstrators who arrived in solidarity.

8. February 15: MKs hold a conference marking 50 years of occupation along with representatives of civil society in Israel, at the Knesset.

9. February 24: Thousands attend Youth Against Settlements’ seventh annual Open Shuhada Street protest in Hebron, calling for the street to be reopened to Palestinian pedestrians.

10. February 24: Eighteen Israeli human rights organizations stand in solidarity with Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch, in favor of “Border Control, Not Thought Control.”

11. February 25: A group of queer activists protest the launch of a new project calling to integrate female and LGBTQ Israelis into combat units in the IDF, opposing the use of the LGBTQ community and its resources to promote oppression of others.

12. February 26: The Knesset approves ACRI’s demand to have a ratio of women and Arabs that ensures fair representation for both populations on the Israel Land Authority Council, a body that has executive power over 93% of Israel’s land resources.

13. March 3: Peace Now, Yesh Din, and ACRI, petition the High Court, on behalf of 13 Israeli civil society organizations and 27 Palestinian local councils, against the Expropriation Bill, which aims to retroactively legalize illegal settlement construction on private Palestinian lands.  People take part in a demonstration held by Israeli left-wing group Peace Now, entitled “Two States, One Hope, A demonstration against 50 years of occupation”, in Tel Aviv, May 27, 2017. AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

14. March 3: Hebrew University becomes the first Israeli educational institution to recognize Palestinian Authority test scores, in hopes of increasing enrollment by East Jerusalem Palestinians.

15. March 8: Women Human Rights Defenders based in Israel issue a joint statement calling on the European Union (EU) and EU Member States to take urgent actions to prevent the shrinking space for Israeli civil society.

16. March 10: Israeli and Palestinian women from the Bereaved Families Forum, mark International Women’s Day by participating in a joint vigil for those they have lost as a result of the conflict.

17. March 14: Over 200 demonstrators protest the Kaminitz Bill, which seeks to increase home demolitions and further criminalize unofficial construction, outside the Knesset.

18. March 17: Over 100 Israelis and Palestinians march in solidarity with the residents of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills, as part of a Freedom March hosted by Combatants for Peace. Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian protester during clashes at a demonstration against the closure of Shuhada street to Palestinians, Hebron, February 21, 2014.Reuters

March

19. March 20: A Givat Haviva Conference brings together politicians, journalists, and NGO professionals to create a “roadmap for a shared society” working toward a peaceful and sustainable future.

20. March 24: Eighteen-year-old conscientious objector, Tamar Ze’evi, released from military prison on grounds of conscience after 115 days.

21. March 27: Hundreds of North American Jews march in protest of the occupation outside of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, and are joined by Meretz Party MK Tamar Zandberg.

22. March 29: The Coalition of Women for Peace holds a successful conference titled “Women Beyond the Siege,” on, and with, women in Gaza – in spite of pressure from the Ministry of Culture to cancel the event.

23. March 30: The Al-Midan Theater strikes in protest of the Ministry of Culture’s budgetary restrictions on freedom of expression.

24. April 1: Hundreds of Jews and Arabs march together for peace and an end to the occupation in Jerusalem as part of a coalition mobilized by Standing Together.

25. April 1: Hundreds of journalists rally in Tel Aviv to protest Netanyahu’s decision to shut down the news division of Israel’s new state broadcaster, resisting political influence on Israel’s press.

26. April 3: Haaretz calls for all who oppose ongoing incitement and the occupation to join the wave of demonstrations being led by Standing Together and a growing coalition of organizations.  Protesters hoisting signs reading ‘We don’t have enough children for unnecessary vengeance,” and ‘Tag Meir – light instead of terror,” Jerusalem, July 2, 2014.Yossi Zamir, Tag Meir

27. April 6: Eighteen-year-old conscientious objector, Tamar Alon, released from military prison after 130 days, while Atalya Ben-Abba remains in prison on grounds of conscience.

28. April 7: Combatants for Peace hold a Freedom March for peace and security in the Jordan Valley, to stand in solidarity with their Palestinian partners in resisting calls for annexation of area C.

29. April 25: German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel chooses civil society organizations over Israeli government following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s ultimatum calling for him to cancel his meetings with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem.

30. April 27: Hadash Party MKs, joined by members of the Histadrut labor federation, stand outside one of the busiest checkpoints at 5 a.m. to hand flowers and “know your rights” pamphlets to Palestinian laborers in honor of May Day.

31. April 28: Hundreds protest in solidarity with the grassroots movement, Ta’ayush, and Palestinian shepherds in the town of Al Auja, following a settler assault a week earlier that left five injured.

32. April 29: Hundreds march through Nazareth, including members of Knesset from the Joint List, to mark International Worker’s Day, calling for justice, peace, and labor rights.   Israel tears down Sumud anti-occupation encampment set up by North American Jews in West Bank village of Sarura. May 25, 2017 Screen capture

33. April 30: After 225 Palestinians were denied permits to attend a joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony in Tel Aviv, over 400 Jews and Arabs attend a solidarity ceremony in Beit Jala.

34. May 3: A petition filed by Adalah and the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, compels the Israeli Prison Service to allow Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike to meet with lawyers.

35. May 9: Joint NGO statement demands the humane treatment of Palestinian hunger strikers, calling upon the international community to cease Israel’s ongoing human rights violations against prisoners.

36. May 10: Following a petition submitted by ACRI, Yesh Din, and The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, the State agreed to amend military legislation reducing detention periods for minors and adults in the occupied territories.

37. May 12: Over 30 NGOs, journalists, and former judges, join forces to create “The Council for the Protection of Freedoms,” a group dedicated to struggle against the rising tide of anti-democratic incitement, and to protecting freedom of expression in Israel.

38. May 14: Peace Now’s complaint to the Attorney General succeeds in cancelling an illegal tender for a tourism project on private Palestinian land.  Demonstration in Tel Aviv against the demolition of Umm al Hiran. January 18, 2017 Tomer Appelbaum

39. May 14: In response to a hate crime targeting Arab residents of the village of Naora, hundreds of Christians, Muslims and Jews march with Tag Meir in opposition to the hateful attacks and in solidarity with the villagers.

40. May 16: Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent partake in a conference at the Knesset to further their struggle for equal rights and a more just Israeli society.

41. May 18: Haqel-Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights hosts an interfaith field day in the Jordan Valley led by Ta’ayush, to raise awareness on regional challenges.

42. May 18: Hundreds of Jewish women successfully hold a Torah reading with women at the Western Wall in an act of defiance, without interference.

43. May 19: Around 300 Palestinians, Israelis, diaspora Jews, and internationals build a protest camp in the South Hebron Hills, resurrecting the Palestinian village of Sarura to model a just and sustainable shared future, despite army attempts to dismantle the camp.

44. May 23: Dozens of shops in West Jerusalem sign a petition, hang signs on storefronts, and even close in solidarity with Palestinian merchants in East Jerusalem who are compelled to shutter their businesses during the March of the Flags.

45. May 24: Around 500 demonstrators attend a coalition-led rally on Jerusalem Day, highlighting the illusion of the city’s unification, and calling for equitable rights, treatment, and policies, for all the city’s residents.  Women of the Wall. July 7, 2016Daniel Shitrit

46. May 24: Members of Free Jerusalem, All That’s Left, and IfNotNow protest the March of the Flags on Jerusalem Day through an act of civil disobedience, calling for a peaceful settlement for all the city’s residents.

47. May 27: 15,000 Israelis attend a  Peace Now rally in the heart of Tel Aviv, calling for two states and an end to the occupation.

BREak

48. May 30: Breaking the Silence to release “The Kingdom of Olives and Ash,” a compilation of pieces by acclaimed international authors on life under occupation, to mark its 50th year.

49. June 7: INsecurity, The Military Industries Shadow Conference to address feminist and civil notions of security, along with the devastating impact of Israeli military industries.

50. You, and all of us: We all have to keep showing up, to keep up the momentum. These acts of resistance are the building blocks of social change. 

Talia Krevsky translates for Kerem Navot, an Israeli NGO  established in 2012, which monitors and carries out research on  Israeli land policy in the West Bank and is a member of Standing Together. Dana Mandler is an educator and Jerusalem-based member of All That’s Left.

Jewish nonviolence: “The world is watching.”

May 31, 2017

lana Sumka is the director of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence who works out of Belgium. She is also a “Jewish Jew” not an Israeli who turns her back on injustice, not a tribalist originally from America who has a hard time reconciling what Israel has become.

SUMK

Sumka is a Jewish hero one committed to ending the Israeli occupation. She was the first by being the first Jewish person to receive an honorary Bethlehem “passport” as part of the international Open Bethlehem campaign.

None of this prevented her from being manhandled by israeli soldiers whom she was taught were superheroes “who’d protect me from harm.”
She recently described her journey in Haaretz from being young and Jewish in the USA 70s to her present role as an anti-occupation activist.
While the rest of the world was preparing for the new American president’s first visit to Israel, in a small village called Sarura deep in the West Bank, 130 American, Canadian, European and Australian Jews were standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Palestinians, taking blows from Israeli soldiers.

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Sarura was a Palestinian village in 1999 and on the pretext of it being “a military firing zone,” 700 were evicted.In 2001. Across from this village the extremist settlers moved in and established an illegal outpost now linked to the electric and water grid. Last week, a coalition of Palestinians, Israelis and Diaspora Jews came together to reclaim Sarura. We called the project “Sumud: Freedom Camp. ‘ Sumka describes her “awakening.”

Like many Jews around the world, it took time for me to realize I couldn’t reconcile this reality of Israel’s occupation with the Israel I thought I knew. For me, it took living in Israel for seven years, studying and eventually traveling in the West Bank every day to witness first-hand the rise of settlements and the on-going displacement of Palestinians to reach a conclusion that terrified me, and that I had not been able previously to accept.   Israeli policy in the West Bank is based on racial and ethnic discrimination in which Jewish rights and Jewish access to land are privileged over and at the expense of Palestinian rights and Palestinian access to land.

SUM

There is no moral case to be made that justifies the separate legal systems, the unequal access to basic resources, the impunity that settlers enjoy or the constant harassment, violence, and displacement that Palestinians face. There is certainly no Jewish case to be made for this. Two years ago I founded the Center for Jewish Nonviolence to bring Jews from around the world to join the Palestinian grassroots nonviolent movement on the ground, alongside our Israeli counterparts.
On May 20 at midnight the brave IDF moved in to dismantle the camp and manhandle the protestors.

But oh how things have changed. Israel can no longer hide what it has been doing for decades.The computer, cell phones, cameras, Facebook has shattered the mendacious israeli narrative and exposed the stunning persistent cruelty of a settler colonial state.

The presence of hundreds of Jewish Americans, Europeans and Australians changed the equation. We linked arms, stood shoulder to shoulder – Palestinians, Israelis and Diaspora Jews – and took out our cameras.  Rabbis, Jewish academics, Jewish day school graduates, Jewish summer camp counselors were all there, filming and livestreaming to our friends, family and communities back home, and the Israeli army knew it.  When these confrontations happen to Palestinians alone, the Israeli army can count on no one watching. We were there to make sure the world was watching.

This brave woman concludes:

It will take more than busloads of American Jews standing in solidarity in the West Bank to end the occupation. But tonight, my Palestinian, Israeli and Jewish American friends are sitting around a campfire drinking hot tea, showing the world an alternative to the status quo. When we turn our privilege into power for our oppressed sisters and brothers, and when we value justice and shared humanity over displacement and discrimination, we win.